The pace of change in marketing is continuously accelerating, and the chief marketing officer must evolve along with it or get left behind. That means a commitment to being a "life-long learner;" constantly learning brand new skills or sharpening up old ones for new applications.
The challenges facing the CMO of tomorrow are many, and each will require a specialized response. As always, there's no universal "perfect formula" for a CMO right now. What works best for a business will depend on its internal organization and market. But given current trends in technology, marketing, and business as a whole, there are a few capabilities that will be universally essential for a head of marketing to thrive in 2017.
We've identified some traits nearly every CMO must have or learn to keep their job through to 2018 and lead their organization to success. The common theme for this year's essential CMO skills is "put up or shut up." Businesses have been giving marketing leaders time to develop sophisticated plans and complex processes over the last few years. Now they'll be expected to show the fruits of their labor—or get left behind.
Marketers have been harping for years on the importance of a thoroughly integrated marketing operation. So many aspects of marketing are mutually dependent on each other for success. Departments and agencies have experimented with new org charts, invested in collaboration tech, and adopted new project management processes. Now it's time to bring all the pieces together. There are no more legitimate reasons not to have digital, analytics, brand, media strategy, customer experience, public relations and more all operating together under the umbrella of marketing. A CMO juggling a fragmented strategy and team will struggle to compete with more streamlined operations.